DEAR external fulfilment workflow explained

If you utilise a third-party fulfilment service such as Fulfilment by Amazon to ship your orders, you are able to connect this service to DEAR as an external inventory management location. DEAR will send sale order information to the external fulfilment service and has the ability to synchronise inventory quantities once orders are fulfilled and receive shipping info as well as tracking information from the fulfilment service.


Table of Contents


Diagram of the workflow:


New external fulfilment service connection

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Every external fulfilment service will work using the DEAR integration module.

Once a fulfilment service is connected, at least one new external location will be created in DEAR. At the moment only one location is available per external fulfilment service.

First, DEAR will attempt to create an external location with a name specified by the fulfilment service. If a location with the same name is found, DEAR will check if that location contains bins. A location with set bins cannot be used as an external location. If the location has bins, DEAR will then create a new location with a number suffix in combination with the name (1, 2, 3,…).


External location

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An external location will have specific features and limitations. It must only be used in sales where the goods involved will be shipped to the customer from an external fulfilment centre.


External location features and limitations

  • Cannot have Bins
  • Cannot be renamed
  • Cannot be deleted, while a fulfilment service is connected
  • Can be synced with an external service in stocktake/Inventory count.


Once the external location is created, we strongly recommend you to conduct a stocktake/Inventory count in order to synchronise inventory quantities between DEAR and the external fulfilment service. 


Why it is important to sync initial quantities?

When a new sale is created in DEAR, you will not be able to complete/authorise the Pick stage if there are insufficient quantities for products in the external location.

DEAR will create a new Fulfilment Order, based on the quantities of products it has on record for the external location, but will receive an error, because the product was sold out and the items are no longer available to ship from the fulfilment centre (this can occur if the inventory quantities were not syncronised initially or there is another service affecting the quantities in the external location).


To synchronise quantities: 

  1. Navigate to Inventory -> Stocktake.
  2. Select your external Location and click Start.



  3. Click the Sync button at the top of the screen. All the inventory quantities from the fulfilment service location are then imported into DEAR.
    • Non-Zero Stock-on-hand products will have quantities automatically synced.
    • Zero Stock-on-hand products will have quantities automatically synced, but unit cost must be entered manually.
  4. Complete the stocktake.


Please ensure that initial quantities between DEAR and the fulfilment service are identical before commencing order fulfilment from the external location. If possible, please ensure the conditions below are met:

  1. Do not use other applications that may affect quantities in your external fulfilment service.
  2. If rule 1 cannot be met, then perform a stocktake/Inventory count as often as order fulfilment is triggered by the third-party application (the period depends on your business and may vary from hours to weeks).


Fulfilment Orders

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Fulfilment Order is a section of the Sale module that provides ability to manage orders in external fulfilment services.
The section contains information about the orders, items in the fulfilment order (its packages), the date when different fulfilment stages were completed (e.g. ship/delivery and tracking information to track the current placement of the order (if the fulfilment service can provide this information). It also contains information about the shipping method and fulfilment order comments (some fulfilment services print comments on materials provided to the customer, e.g. package label).


DEAR Fulfilment Order statuses

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There are 7 types of DEAR fulfilment order statuses:

  1. Queued
  2. On Hold
  3. Shipped
  4. Completed
  5. Delivered
  6. Cancelled
  7. Failed.


Queued: This status is assigned to newly created fulfilment orders which haven’t been sent to (processed by) the fulfilment service. While the fulfilment order has this status, the user can Void, Edit/Save or Process it.


On Hold: This status shows that the fulfilment order has been sent to (processed by) the fulfilment service. Only applicable if the external fulfilment service supports this status. It means that the external fulfilment service has received the order, validated it (for example, checked if the address is valid) and products for this order have been reserved in the warehouse. When the order is in this status, no inventory will be sent. In some cases, it could be used to hold the order, awaiting customer payment, before shipping the goods. 

While a fulfilment order is in this status, the user can Cancel, Edit/Save or Ship it.


Shipped: This status shows that the order was sent to the fulfilment service, which started to process it. The fulfilment order remains in this status until customer receives the shipment. 

While fulfilment order is in this status, the user cannot make any changes, but is allowed to Cancel the order, where the fulfilment service allows order cancellation. Usually cancellation is available until the fulfilment centre staff begin the pick/pack process. 


Completed: In situations where the Delivery status has not been returned, DEAR considers that the order was completed in the estimated arrival timeframe. This could occur if the fulfilment service or carrier doesn’t provide tracking details which are used by DEAR to change the order status. 


Delivered: This status shows that the fulfilment order was successfully accomplished. 


Cancelled: This status shows that the fulfilment order was cancelled by user. 


Failed: DEAR fulfilment order shows this status only in cases where the external fulfilment service rejects the fulfilment request with an error (for example, if a fulfilment order has wrong address). This error is saved to the fulfilment order log.


Fulfilment Order creation and Sale Order processing

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DEAR Fulfilment Order cannot be created manually by the user. DEAR creates a fulfilment order only on Sale - Ship authorisation. To have correct behavior, Sale Order UI and processing were modified:


  • AutoShip was disabled for sale orders with products picked from an external location for all sales (UI, ECS, API, etc). If user settings contain this option, shipment lines will be created, but shipment will not be authorised. An appropriate message will be written to log.
  • Fill Pack (Copy from Pick) behavior was changed. Products from an external location cannot be packed in the same box together with products from another location. Products from each external location will have a dedicated box. 
  • Fill Ship (Copy from Pack) will also create a separate shipment line for each box from an external location.


If a product from an external location was picked, the Ship tab will have the following options: 

  • Carrier columns will be renamed to Carrier / Shipping service. In this column, the user can choose a shipping method for lines related to the external fulfilment service, or the Skip fulfilment option. If the user chooses the Skip fulfilment option, Sale - Ship will be authorised, but no DEAR fulfilment orders will be created. It is useful to prevent double shipping in case the sale task (or sale shipment) was undone and then re-authorised. Another list of shipping methods is obtained from the fulfilment service. Please note that some shipping methods are not available for all addresses.
  • The Add a Line For External Fulfilment button is used for adding a new shipment line for boxes fulfilled by an external fulfilment service. 
  • Fulfilment orders grid. The grid lists all DEAR fulfilment orders linked to this Sale order. 


Depending on the fulfilment service, DEAR Fulfilment order could be created with status: Queued, On Hold or Shipped.


Fulfilment service catalogue

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Excluding some specific features, each external fulfilment service has a Product Catalogue/Inventory. This Catalogue is updated in time intervals specified for the fulfilment service integration.


Tracking details

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Twice a day, DEAR (at 00:51 and 12:51 UTC time) will try to update tracking details and statuses for all fulfilment orders with Shipped status. If any information is updated, an appropriate message will be logged.


Independently from DEAR packing lines, an external fulfilment service can separate a fulfilment order into several packages. According to this, one shipment line in DEAR can have several tracking numbers separated by commas. When DEAR is notified that a new tracking number was assigned to a fulfilment order, DEAR stores this information inside the fulfilment order and generates an appropriate message in the fulfilment order log and the sale order log.


If the Sale order was changed after the fulfilment order was processed by the fulfilment service (for example, it was undone, and the user changed the shipping lines and authorised shipment again), then the tracking number will be written only in the sale order log.


Returns

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At the moment, returns are not supported.


Using an External fulfilment service for eCommerce integration

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If an external location is mapped to any location for eCommerce integration, it means that for each product sold from this location, an external fulfilment service will be used for order fulfilment.


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